18 July 2010
International Solidarity Movement
Palestinian human rights activist Wa’el Al-Faqeeh has been sentenced to one year in Israeli military prison, on the charge of aiding an illegal organization. Al-Faqeeh was arrested by the Israeli military on 9 December 2009, thus due to be released in December of this year.
The sentence was handed down in Salem military prrison, in which Al-Faqeeh was found guilty by a military judge of aiding an illegal organization. The charge has served as a useful and thinly veiled pretext in the arrest of hundreds of Palestinian activists. Al-Faqeeh was also ordered to pay a fine of 2000 shekels.
Al-Faqeeh will serve his sentence in Megiddo prison in northern Israel. The act of imprisoning inmates from an occupied territory inside the occupying country is illegal under international law. Megiddo prison is notorious for its harsh treatment of inmates, where prisoners sleep in tents in crowded pens, providing little shelter from the extremities of weather in winter and summer.
Al-Faqeeh was arrested during an Israeli military night raid operation in Nablus on 9 December 2009. He and 8 others, including 3 other prominent grassroots activists were arrested during the operation, including Myasser Itiani, Nasser Itiani and Mussa Salama. Nasser Itiani is now serving his second term of administrative detention and is due to be released in August. Salama, well-known in the Nablus region for his work with the Labour Committee of Medical Relief Workers has been sentenced to one year on identical charges to Al-Faqeeh and is due to be released in December.
The arrests marked a significant surge in Israel’s crackdown on the popular struggle, evidenced by the subsequent arrests of Bil’in popular committee leader Abdullah Abu-Rahmah, Stop the Wall campaign leader Jamal Juma’ and Ibrahim Amirah and several other members of the Ni’lin popular committee.